At 6pm there is no heavy rain so I grapped my bogu asap and run to the bus stop... And then it started pouring again---!!! When it rains the bus is always packed and it goes a lot slower on the highway... So when I arrived it was 7.30pm. Adding to that there is this weird 60's song concert at the stadium... there was a massive toilet queue of middle-aged women at my changing room... Just... why can't they look somewhere else when I change... God!!
So I missed (oops) the warm-ups and half of the suburi. Oh look, a new foreign guy - Meyer from Basel. And there was Stephen (who KO-ed me on the floor last week) from Germany here too. Day for the German-speaking kendo people!
Rather interesting was that the kihon session was leaded by Tanaka-sensei who speaks Nihongo all the way. I can listen and guess OK but probably the other half of the class have to rely on David the interpretor. Earlier this week I finally bought a Fundamental I: Nihongo book and decided to go from ground zero. It's pretty embarassing that I know my kana since 14 but never really study Nihongo serious enough (can't hold a decent conversation). While in kendo verbal instruction is minimal, it is still go to grasp as much as I can. Now I am even more motivated knowing that both Meyer and Stephen can speak Japanese well enough, as they both have been in Japan for a year or 2.
As the title of this entry is "Gaijin Kendo" - I am not really trying to pick on what is the difference between theirs or the locals. But rather I admire more of foreigner's devotion in learning a completely different culture. Of course they didn't really go to Japan for kendo, but I understand that there are more foreigners willing to go on the full package of studying Japan as in a traditional way. Kendo or other cultural activities is one thing, and also language... Unlike teenagers who can only name you J-pop stars, watch their anime or eat their sushi.
I empathize as I also went abroad for my studies..
Now going back to kendo... It was kihon, mawari-keiko and then jikeiko. We occationally have this format (yay! no kata today!!) and it's quite interesting that T-sensei asks the group "Daijoubu?" after 7 rounds of keiko. I had Stephen twice. I am cutting much more solid today and didn't even feel off-balance.
Since getting 6th Dan, Eda-sensei has been joining in the jikeiko session more (previously she was at the beginners end). Grrr I had comments about me cutting small (No every single time, pleeeeease) - and when I did bigger ones... They get too big...! Argh...
Against T-sensei it was just.... uhmm how come fighting this old man is such a stressful thing?!? And his men-uchi always sounds soooooo strong. Argh. "____utsu____janai!!" I think I missed a couple of - I don't know... So I get this "Don't hit if you are not ready" look...
Towards the end we have the oddest uchikomi-keiko I had ever had. It was fun tho. One motodachi in the center and the rest of us just queue for our cut *once* and pass thru.... It went on for about 6 times and we got to see what other people are doing. Still I haven't had Mr. Meyer today (he's like... a few years older than me... so not that old). He's Nidan and I think a good match of level for me. Yosh, next time.